Author: Jennifer Robson
Source: TLC Book Tours
I’ve loved both of the previous books of Jennifer Robson’s that I’ve read (Somewhere in France and Moonlight Over Paris), so I jumped at the chance to review her latest novel. Set in post-WWII Britain, the story focuses on two women who helped embroider Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding gown. In a secondary story, we also follow the granddaughter of on one of these women as she discovers more about her grandmother. In the historical setting, Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin face the challenges of daily life with rationing and cold winters. Simultaneously, both most figure out how to build lives for themselves. Miriam struggles with her past suffering during in occupied France, while Ann must decide how to react to tragic events in her own life.
As I may have mentioned before, I’ve been in the mood for heavier reading lately. For that reason, I was worried this book would feel disappointingly light. I should have had more faith in past me’s opinion of the author though, because this was fantastic. It was an easier, more fun, more engaging read than some of the other books I’d picked up lately, but there was a depth to it. Characters were well fleshed out and dealt with significant challenges. There were sweet bits, but it never felt over the top to me.
As in her previous books, the author’s descriptions were spot on. Conversations, emails, and texts all felt believable. I could picture every setting she described in vivid detail. She did an incredible job capturing the details of daily life during post-WWII rationing, from meals to public transportation to the details of the women’s embroidery work. Even without a fascinating author’s note at the end, it was clear that the author had done her research. This detailed look at daily life made the parts where the author showed us the best and the worst of humanity all the more believable and moving.
Also common with her previous books were the amazing women she follows. Each woman showed great strength in the face of challenges and their were several wonderful, supportive friendships. The three women whose perspectives we shared each had distinct personalities. Following their believable personal growth, especially Mirriam’s development as an artist, was a pleasure.
This book really had everything I could ask for – well-developed characters, a detailed historical setting, and two equally interesting story lines. I read this somewhat last minute for my book tour, but I think I’d have wanted to finish it in one sitting regardless. I loved this just as much as the author’s earlier books and definitely recommend it to you.